In Person Profile: Barry
03 Jul, 2014
The Sou’Wester was pleased that Barry agreed to be interviewed for our readers. Barry, who has successfully reintegrated back into the community since 2007. He is working full-time, is a new father and an insightful member of MSCM’s Steering Committee.
Q. Thank you Barry for affording our readers an inside glimpse of what you have been through and where you are now. Can you give us a little background?
A. I was incarcerated at the end of my teens and spent 11 years inside, followed by two years in a half-way house. I’ve been working at my same job for several years now. As well, I have extended my family and have done some travelling.
Q. How did you connect with MSCM?
A. At the very beginning, I met Peter Huish when I was in a medium-security pen. A few years later, while in a minimum-security institution, I found myself doing some work at MSCM’s first office, developing a program and database for them.
Q. Can you explain what kind of support MSCM has provided you?
A. MSCM provided me with support, both socially and spiritually. I was given a chance to connect with citizens of Montreal and my community.
The group was very diverse and catered to no particular race, religion or age group. They truly reflected the face of English Montreal.
MSCM was and continues to encourage me to remember how far and from where I came. Don’t get me wrong, I did not come from a life of crime—in fact, it was my only charge. From sentencing to maximum, medium and minimum institutions, fences and walls get crossed and blurred.
I did keep dear friends and family members close but having MSCM interactions and contacts helped me to keep focus on getting back to ‘life’—my life.
Q. Your experiences and insights has been invaluable to our Steering Committee by bringing your first-hand knowledge to the table. What has this experience brought you?
A. It has given me a chance to see first-hand how people can care and have the best interest of an inmate at heart. Being a volunteer-based group of people is one thing on paper. Seeing how volunteers juggle their everyday lives to make time to be present and involved in making the transition from the ‘inside’ to ‘out’ a smooth and successful one, is enough to come away with. There’s no need to factor in the personal expense, but hey, that’s volunteering. From the ‘inside of a minimum-security pen, that wasn’t always apparent at times—maybe even taken for granted as I went along my confined routine life.
Now, having a busy, family filled life, the experience brings a greater understanding and appreciation. Being part of the Steering Committee is an honor and I am pleased that my input is sought and valued.
Q. You are an example of ‘hope’ for others who are currently working on reintegrating back into the community. Do you have any insights?
A. As individuals we all have our issues or situations. Unfortunately, we have to manage these as life rolls on. Never stop moving forward and don’t be discouraged— at the same time dream big and be realistic. LOL but true.
Q. What are your future plans?
A. Enjoy life! I just had a baby boy three months ago so that’s a large part of my life right now and will be for some time. More travelling and just enjoying the day-to-day on the outside—7 years yesterday! Believe me—I’m happy and appreciate each and every day!